Anxiety is a System Warning

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Anxiety can be experienced by an individual, teams, across networks, or a whole organisation.

Each level of anxiety is accompanied by different signals and methods indicating that a systemic survival need is not being met. The four core needs to consider are Belonging, Freedom, Power, and Rewards.

Anxiety feelings are:


Feelings of anxiety can be responses to real or imagined situations. Such feelings can be mild or severe. If severe, these feelings are usually accompanied by their physical indicators:


For individuals, anxiety is the most ubiquitous control warning system we have. Tthe central job of the control system is to satisfy an individual’s general need-filling and protective functions.

However, the control system is never able to give complete satisfaction because every individual’s needs rotate continuously. For instance, people generally join organisations to meet their needs for belonging and leave because they do not have enough power to satisfy this second need.

Fear, or Fright

Anxiety feelings, in response to feelings of being out of control in real situations, tends to be those of fear. Anxiety feelings in response to being out of control of unreal situations are those of fright.

Fears are based on the individual seeing a threat before them. Phobias are frights based on assumptions of threat generated internally by the individual.

Under conditions of fear, the most effective control system may not aid the individual in a possibly dangerous situation. An individual’s ability to survive will be dependent on how effectively their control system can operate in perilous situations.

Individuals with phobias react to their assumptions about reality in a self-fulfilling feedback loop. They do not respond to the reality of the situation, as others may see it.


Anxiety is a condition of hormonal over-stimulation and physical, emotional, and mental calming methods can be effective.

And you can do something about it. We suggest:

Learn and practice continual regular deep breathing. Check yourself here Link

Take a brisk walk and look around for things you appreciate in the scene.

Use positive self-talk and self-reinforcement. Eliminate negative self-talk.

Anticipate by attention switching to the positive, whenever you expect anxiety-prone events.

Use self-reinforcing positive mantras to calm your mind and emotions.

Debrief by writing out what caused/s the anxiety, why it is useful as a system warning, and what you plan to do about similar situations. Write 12 of each of these headings, in turn. Do not jump from list to list.

Find what works for you and do it. Do not let anxieties fester.

READING: William Glasser, “Mental Health or Mental Illness?” Harper & Row, 1960

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